Monday, 16 July 2012

'The Daily Gospel' - Timothy Brindle

"Another root of sin is self-righteousness, 
But the gospel says my only help's Christ who lives,
Then my pride and idolatry will die as I constantly,
Look to Christ and in the gospel see,
An astronomically awesome God indeed,
Way greater than any the world can possibly offer me,
And when I see my beautiful Saviour who suffered,
For all of the numerous ways I have blundered...
But most of all the gospel brings me close to my Father,
So in the warmth of His love I can soak like a sauna,
So now I wanna obey Him and show Him my honour,
Not to earn His love but as a chosen responder"

I could have quoted just about all of this song because it is so excellent. Part of me wants to get legalistic and self-righteous and say that I need to listen to this song everyday to remind myself everyday to read the Bible everyday but I know I need to fight the legalism and focus on the fact that the gospel says my only help's Christ who lives, "the gospel brings me close to my Father" - these shall be my reasons for being disciplined in my reading of the Word because I can't "earn His love".

This song may be excellent (in its content, Tim's delivery and rhymes, its production and the fact that it reminds me of the key which unlocked me from a legalistic prison) but the Gospel is much more excellent - I want to see daily (and if I'm honest I'm bad at the moment at ensuring I read daily) my just how beautiful my Saviour who suffered is, I want to be reminded everyday that God is love and that in light of these facts, I cannot rely on myself.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

'Runnin' Away' ft. Ronin - Righteouz Knight

Had some teaching on Genesis 37 & 39 today (click here to download and listen to the sermon)and it reminded me of this track from the new Righteouz Knight mixtape.

The first verse of 'Runnin' Away' featuring Ronin retells the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife. Rupert Bentley-Taylor (who was preaching today) reminded us of the verse in 1 Corinthians 6 which says 'Flee from sexual immorality'.

Joseph was faithful to God. He says 'How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?' - this is his motive to decline the woman's advances. It wasn't because it was a sin against Potiphar, or because it was just the wrong thing to do, it was because He knew it was wicked and that it was a sin against God.

Rupert challenged us to 'call a sin a sin' and to run from it, just as this track from Righteouz Knight does. We have to flee - run. We can't tiptoe around the edge of sin, we just have steer well clear of it - remember, Joseph ran out of the house and physically got right away from the situation. Shai Linne tweeted a quote today from Douglas Wilson's book 'Fidelity': 'A man who wants never to fall off a cliff should resolve never to tip-toe along the edge of it'.

Jesus taught us to pray (as recorded in Matthew 6) that our Father in Heaven would deliver us from evil as opposed to being led into temptation. We are to ask that the Holy Spirit would guide us in the absolute opposite direction of sin - towards what is good and holy and righteous. We really must make this our prayer as temptations come daily and, like to admit it or not, in the world we live in, sexual temptations come daily too.

"I'm runnin' away, 'cause I know death is chasin'...and I'ma keep escapin'... God is on my side, I'm runnin' away"

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

'Do All Things' - Jerrell Johnson

"With Him we can do all things"

O.K., so, the thoughts this song provoked really has nothing to do with the premise of this song by Jerrell Johnson. It's just that he quotes Philippians 4:13 and that got me thinking...

Now I'm not sure of how this verse relates to the context of Philippians, and I know it's important not to take things out of context but from what I can see Paul and Timothy are finishing their letter with some encouragement using their own lives as examples. They particularly focus on God's provision for their needs.

Not long ago, I was trying very hard to provide for my own needs - spiritual needs - and I was failing time and time again to meet my needs. My attitude was 'I can do all things' when it should have been "I can do all things THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME". I was trying to get to Him, to get to know Him, to love Him without realising that I could only do it through Him and in Him and with Him. I did not truly understand that His strength in me would be the key. I am thankful that in His loving grace and kindness God showed me the error of my ways and that He is showing me now, helping me to let go of the weaknesses I cling onto and to truly allow Christ to be my strength.

We think we can do all things - we empower ourselves - but the power lies in Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

P.S. Although the track doesn't have much to do with my thoughts it is an excellent track with a good story and a thought provoking theme - check it. Also check out Jerrell's whole mixtape 'Dream S.O.D.A.' at his bandcamp page.

'Drown' - Illtripp

"My death is going to be gain,
And if to live is Christ, why am I in so much pain?
It turns out I'm to blame, I rely on my own brain,
and my mind, which failed me about a 1000 times."

If you read my last post then you'll know something of how my life is changing right now. In this new lease of life I've been looking for music which is clearly joyful about what Christ has done for us. It seems that it's hard to find in Hip Hop. There are plenty of artists who preach absolutely solid truths about Christ's death and resurrection but few who seem to respond in song joyfully, extolling Christ and His wonderful work.

Well, this track is not particularly preachy, nor is it very joyful - it's called 'Drown' for goodness sake! However, it laments exactly what God is helping me to leave behind: self-reliance and legalism. That was me - relying on my self, relying on that which has failed me countless times, and which has never ever been successful in what I was trying to achieve (Colossians 2:21-23 explains more about this). God has revealed to me that I will never make it by my own efforts and that He is more than sufficiently able to bring me into a right relationship with Him. He is the One who is able, by the power of the Spirit living in me, to open my heart to His delights, to show me how to enjoy Him and how to adore Christ.

My mind will continue to fail me, self-reliance will continue to only make me religious (along with the feelings of guilt and bondage) but by casting my burden on the Lord, He will ensure that I do not fall (Psalm 55:22).

'Goodnight' ft. Rigz & Wize - Wit and Dre Murray

"The question is: Will I ever make it? 
The answer is: I already have, 
Having a picnic at the top of a skyscraper, 
I took the elevator. 
I'll let you do the math... 
Everyday was dark, I pursued night, 
The forecast said tomorrow wasn't too bright. 
I asked God for a new life, 
I saw my life rise to a new height, 
It's no hype, close your eyes and receive sight. 

I heard this whilst riding my bike and didn't get to check the track name, so after listening through everything that was on my phone's memory card I managed to find it.

These lyrics really struck a chord with me. You see, I've recently been awakened to some realities; some truths. I've recently been made free; I've been liberated from legalism, or am at least in the process of being released. My next few blog posts are probably going to revolve around this because this is a huge revelation in my life. 

For far too long I've been a slave to box-ticking; to a works-based religion. My idol has been an imitation relationship with the Triune God - one which makes me read books, listen to sermons, partake in (and even lead) bible studies, read the bible with only one real outcome: knowledge. I've had a knowledge which hasn't changed me, which hasn't made me love Christ and which hasn't made me enjoy God and it's been draining. I am free and I am thankful!

So, going back to the lyrics quoted at the outset...

My thoughts immediately on hearing them were: "Stop trying to climb the stairs, and get in the elevator (or lift as we Brits call them)". For too long I've been trying to get to the top of the skyscraper by toiling up the stairs and never seeming to get anywhere. Now I'm in the elevator going up; it's not by my power, it's not what I've done or what I'm doing - it is the power of the Holy Spirit in me, opening my eyes to who the Father is, and what the Son has done for me and enabling me to react joyfully.

It's been so hard, but in the end I just had to ask God for a new life, and I'm seeing my life rise to a new height - I am taking the elevator.